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Literature / Wonder Woman: Warbringer

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Wonder Woman: Warbringer is a young adult novel by Leigh Bardugo published in 2017, with a Comic-Book Adaptation published in 2020, about one of the most famous superheroes in comic history: Wonder Woman.

Diana, the princess of Themiscyria, the only amazon to have been formed from clay instead of being a heroic human warrior first, is desperate to prove her worth to the world, but especially the other amazons. However, when the chance to do so arrives in the form of human girl Alia Keralis, it turns out to be a bit more complicated than she thought.

Alia simply wanted to be normal for a short time, escaping her overprotective brother and the memories of her dead parents. However, it turns out that she is being hunted. After her ship is destroyed, she is saved by a strange girl: Diana.

Together, they find the reason why Alia's being hunted: She is the Warbringer, destined to throw the world into a devastating world war. To avoid this fate, they must travel the world and fight Alia's enemies together.

The novel is part of the DC Icons series.

This book has examples of the following tropes:

  • All of the Other Reindeer: While she isn't considered an outcast, Diana is aware of how different she is from the other Amazons, especially because of how she was born.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Amazons, obviously. Though they never actually see combat in the book.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The people who try to kill Alia because she's the warbringer are said to belong to groups that have existed for centuries, at least.
  • Apocalypse Maiden: The Warbringer. Bonus points for Alia, who is also the procatalysia - she who comes before the world dissolves.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The Dire Warnings about humanity: war, torture, genocide, pollution, and bad grammar.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: The Amazons. They were originally mortal human women who died in battle with their goddesses name on their lips, and where resurrected to immortal life on Themiscyria as a reward. The fact that Diana as the only one on Themiscyria never went through that, because she was formed from clay by her mother who wanted a child, is the reason she's an outsider on Themiscyria.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Nim and Theo bicker a lot, but it's clear they actually do care about each other.
  • Back from the Dead: All of the Amazons, technically. Also Diana, Nim and Theo at the end of the series, after Diana makes a deal with the goddesses to bring them back
  • Balloon Belly: After draining Diana of her blood, Pinon's body is described as looking bloated by the text. And in the comic adaptation, she's visibly winded by having so much blood packed away inside of her.
  • Batman Gambit: Jason. He pretends to help Diana and Alia, but truly just wants to delay them
  • Best Her to Bed Her: Diana tells Jason the tale of a heroine who took such an oath, and ended up being killed by and killing a man she grew to love during the fight so was never with anyone in life.
  • Black and Nerdy: Alia and Jason.
  • Broken Pedestal: Jason. JASON. Alia adored him, and while his overprotectiveness annoyed her, she was absolutely convinced that he did it only to protect her because he loved her so much. The Reveal that he wanted her to start that war and never cared about her friends or possibly her at all is a huge betrayal to her
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Alia to Jason. He's her brother, not her father, but he's essentially raised her since their parent's death, and Alia delivers a truly "The Reason You Suck" Speech to him after he reveals his true allegiances
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Louise Simonson and Kit Seaton did on for the DC Ink imprint.
  • Coming of Age Story: For Diana and Alia.
  • Crossover Cosmology: Implied. The main characters are all tied to Greek Mythology, but it's stated that for example the ghost horses on Themiscyria are a gift from Epona, a Celtic goddess, and other gods get name checked as well.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: Nik and Lina Keralis, Jason and Alia's parents seem to have been genuinely kind and loving. After Jason admits to his true intentions, there is some doubt cast as to whether at least Nik Keralis was that good of a man. It's never explored in detail, though.
  • Demonic Possession: Divine possession, actually. Eris (goddess of discord) and Deimos (god of fear) take control of Nim and Theo at a couple points in an attempt to scare the group away from the spring.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Tekmessa. She keeps mocking Diana as Phyxis (a small vial made of clay) because she was never human, and she does seem to think that Diana shouldn't exist.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Tek's name for Diana, Pyxis, mainly because it reminds her of her origins.
  • Evil Uncle: Michael Santos, Alia's godfather and Theo's father, is set up to appear as this. He's a red herring, deliberately set up by Jason, and at the end there's nothing indicating that he's actually a bad guy.
  • Exact Words: According to the Oracle, Alia bathing in the springs near "where Helen rests" will purify her and prevent further Warbringers from being born. It turns out that "where Helen rests" means by the tree where she rested after she ran in races, not her tomb.
  • False Friend: Jason, to everybody, but mostly Theo. He openly admits that the only reason he hung out with him was that that way he could keep an eye on his father.
  • Fish out of Water: Diana, though not as much as in other versions of her story. Here, the amazons do have access to contemporary literature and art, and Diana is theoretically aware of most everything that's important in the modern world. She's still surprised by the reality, though, especially when women and men are treated differently.
  • Five-Token Band: Diana is Greek; Jason and Alia are half-black, half-Greek; Theo is latino; and Nim is Indian and Ambiguously Bi.
  • Gay Best Friend: Or Bi. Nim is still figuring it out. After the adventure, Diana sees Nim holding hands with a girl
  • Glory Seeker: Jason, so much that he wants to start a huge war and bring back the time of heroes, just so he can get glory on the battle field.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: When Diana returns to Themiscyria after her adventure, she finds that barely any time has passed there, and nobody has noticed she was gone. As saving Alia in the first place and bringing her to Themiscyria could mean banishment, Diana keeps her adventure to herself. The oracle, who as only other person on Themiscyria knows about everything, swears to keep quiet.
  • Hate Plague: The Warbringer's abilities manifest as this, eventually causing large-scale war when said Warbringer comes of age. After Alia has been captured by Jason's men, she finds out that she can consciously do this, and uses it to distract them.
  • The Hero: Diana, of course. But also, to a certain extent, Alia
  • Hidden Disdain Reveal: Jason doesn't like Theo at all, he considers him useless. The only reason he pretended to like him was that he could keep an eye on Theo's father
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: When Jason uses the serum created from Diana's DNA, he gets an Amazon's strength and speed, but also starts feeling their pain and hearing their screams of agony. After that, he goes down in seconds.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Alia and Diana. Alia wants to have a normal teenage life, and Diana just wants to be accepted as a real Amazon
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Nim, who wants to be noticed. Also, Jason. To the degree that he wants to plunge Earth back into the bronze age and start a world war so that he can be a hero like the ones in the legends he grew up hearing.
  • It's All My Fault: Alia has a moment like this when she realizes that all the fights and arguments that broke out in her presence - including the one her parents were having before the car crash that killed them - were a result of her Warbringer heritage.
  • Knight Templar Big Brother: Jason. At least, that's what he seems to be. After The Reveal that he wants to bring on the war, it's not clear whether he wanted to protect Alia because he loves her or whether he just wanted to make sure that she starts the war she's destined to bring.
  • "Leave Your Quest" Test: After Diana has been drained by Pinon, the goddesses of Themyscira offer to bring her home as a full Amazon. Diana refuses, knowing that things will only get worse if she can't stop it.
  • Literal Ass-Kicking: After Jason is brought low, Diana literally kicks him in the ass, 'as per tradition'.
  • Love-Interest Traitor: Jason to Diana. They bond about wanting to prove themselves, and even kiss, and then it turns out he's been sabotaging The Quest the whole time.
  • Omniglot: Diana. She speaks English, Bulgarian and Greek in the story and mentions she speaks every language.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Nim. Her full name, Poornima Chaudhary, is mentioned exactly once.
  • Race Against the Clock: Alia has to go to the tomb of Helena of Troy and bathe in the waters of the spring before the sun sets on the first day of the Hekatombaion, leaving the group with very little time.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Most of the Amazons.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Alia to Jason. Absolutely spectacular.
  • Satellite Character: Maeve, Diana's best friend on Themiscyria. Diana talks about her a bit, but she's only actually seen on page once.
  • Screw Destiny: Alia is destined to bring on the next world war. The whole book is about preventing that from happening.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Diana chooses to save Alia, and return with her to the mortal world to save it.
  • Secret Legacy: Alia is the Warbringer, destined to start a world war, like all the other Warbringers before her, going back to Helen of Troy.
  • Secret Test of Character: Both the Oracle's attempts to stop Diana from leaving the island and saving the world, and the goddesses offer to let Diana revive on Themiscyria as a real Amazon after her death fighting Pinon. The Oracle openly admits to it when Diana asks her after coming back to Themiscyria.
  • Selfmade Orphan: Jason hints that Alia might unintentionally be this, because their parents died in a car crash while fighting, and Alia's mere presence causes fights and brawls to break out.
  • Sequel Hook: The Oracle tells Diana that she'll fight for her friends again
  • Ship Tease: Diana and Jason. Alia and Theo. After Jason's true motivations are revealed, Diana is disgusted of him. Theo and Alia are implied to become a couple after the adventure though.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Diana, which several characters mention.
    [S]he was just as Alia remembered her — six feet tall and gorgeous, built like someone who could sell weird fitness equipment on late-night television.
  • Stellification: Diana tells Jason the story her people tell of the binary star Spica. The stars are Zoraida and Agathon placed together in death, after their pride and oaths dedicated that they fight to the death trying to outdo each other even after they'd realized they were in love.
  • Tagline: "There's always a first time to save the world..."
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: Jason reveals that he put sleeping pills in Nim's soda to keep them from getting to the spring in time.
  • Tough Leader Fašade: Hinted at with Queen Hippolyta. Diana mentions that her mother has to make sure to present the exact right image to the other Amazons, and that she can never act the was she wishes to without considering the consequences.
  • True Companions: Diana, Alia, Nim, Theo and Jason. At least until Jason reveals himself to be a traitor. The others stay the best of friends, though
  • Truly Single Parent: Hippolyta formed Diana out of clay.
  • What You Are in the Dark: The Oracle offers Diana to stay quiet and just let Alia die, which would restore the balance in Themiscyria and stop the war that Alia could bring. Diana chooses the difficult path of trying to save Alia, Themiscyria and the world.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: Well, Mom. Diana mentions that she once wove a small tapestry with her mother, and kept pulling out threads at night so that the tapestry wouldn't be finished and she'd get to spend more time with Hippolyta.
  • Where Are They Now: The Oracle shows Diana a short glimpse of Alia and Theo as well as Nim and an unidentified blonde girl holding hands, apparently happy and healthy.
  • Wonder Child: Diana, who was shaped from clay and given life by the gods.
  • Year Outside, Hour Inside: Downplayed — while Diana spends a couple weeks in the mortal world, only a few hours have passed on Themyscira, allowing her to come back without being missed.

Alternative Title(s): Wonder Woman Warbringer